Thanks, Dave.

As much as I’d love to write a 5,000-word essay on what Letterman means to me, I’ll say only that he profoundly influenced not only what I find funny but also the ways one should carry themselves in life (both because of and in spite of his actions over the years). I will miss him and his show terribly.

In lieu of that aforementioned essay, I’ll point you to a recap of a trip my buddy Ross and I took to NYC back in 2002 to see the Late Show. It was a big deal for me at the time and now, with the benefit of time and the power of nostalgia, is one the the most important memories in my life.

2002 New York City Trip Recap

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I came. I saw. I ate XLVIII pounds of nachos.

The year? 2014. The place? The Bischer Estate in picturesque Kenmore, NY. The event? I just finished the Lego Star Wars video game on XBox 360. The consequence? My fiancée is shooting daggers at me with her eyes and may or may not be brandishing a knife. Time for a change in plan? Yes. Welcome to the XLVIII edition of my annual Super Bowl running diary.

I am legally obligated to credit the format to Bill Simmons, Esq. of Grantland.com, a site you should all frequent daily.

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We start, as always, with this year’s official Super Bowl logo. The generification (I’m maintaining that’s a word) of the logo several years back has my nostalgic side yearning for the colorful, in-your-face logos of Super Bowls past. Woe.

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"Lightning Bolt" First Impressions

This is the first full Pearl Jam of the digital age not to leak online in advance of its release, so let’s all thank iTunes for streaming it legally in advance!  I heard several of these tracks in a partial leak a few weeks back but I always savor the first, complete listen of a new Pearl Jam album. Let’s dig in.

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Not Super so much as "Lacking Wattage" (LOLZ)

I am an old man and can’t stay up past midnight anymore writing; whether that be Lost recaps, diatribes on the lack of monkeys in government, or the annual Super Bowl diary. Rest assured, I will have it up here at some point tomorrow. In the meantime, gather ’round your water coolers and talk about the lack of any standout commercials and the refreshing vanishing act Ray Lewis pulled in the 2nd half. Until tomorrow…

Welcome back, one and all, to the annual tradition that’s going to be heavy on Tweets, bullet points and my patented shorthand and light on insightful commentary, witty repartee and actual football analysis. Expect lots of links to YouTube videos as well. Let’s get started!

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Again, who made the decision to go with these “every year a generic p.o.s.” logos? Like many of football’s current ills, let’s blame commissioner Roger Goodell.

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The Dark Knight Rises: IMAX | A-

director: Christopher “Don’t Ever Question Me Again” Nolan
starring: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Matthew Modine

tdkr imaxI’m a sucker and Christopher Nolan is smarter than me. First impressions of anything can be important and can often be right on the money, but they’re also dangerous, susceptible to myriad external factors like one’s state of mind, their environment and their preconceptions going into a given situation. Such is the case for me with Rises, a movie I was angrily disappointed with after an initial viewing in a small theater with merely adequate sound fidelity on a Thursday evening after a long workday. This revisionist review is not meant to excuse the flaws that still exist, but a second viewing did much to minimize them, to the point I’m now pleased enough to give it an A-.

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The Dark Knight Rises | TBD (but leaning toward a C+)

director: Christopher Nolan
starring: Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt

tdkrI’ve never been more disappointed about being disappointed about a movie. The Dark Knight Rises is a disappointment on nearly all levels of filmmaking. A lazy, self-indulgent, sloppy mess of a plot punctuated by action sequences that are more spectacular in intent than execution. I’m reserving final judgment until I see the flick again on IMAX, but I’m sad to say Rises is likely not the crowning achievement and fulfillment of the promise the first two Nolan Bat-movies set the table for.

Where to begin? Let’s start with the titular character. Batman Begins was remarkable in its ability to drive the plot forward despite the fact Batman doesn’t even show up until halfway through the movie. Bruce Wayne’s sojourn abroad was just as interesting as the moments he finally dons the cowl and lays waste to Gotham’s enemies. Nolan found the right balance between character-driven plot and comic book action beats, and carried this through to what might be his finest hour in The Dark Knight, counterbalancing and exceeding any lack of Batman with Heath Ledger’s incredible portrayal of the Joker. That balance is nowhere to be found in Rises, as the film grounds to a halt anytime the caped crusader is absent.

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Prometheus | A-

director: Ridley Scott
starring: Noomi Rapace, Logan Marshall-Green, Michael Fassbender, Idris Elba, Charlize Theron

prometheusMy lack of movie review authoring over the last year is due partly to the “reality” commitments of a career, significant other and various other familial obligations, but mainly due to the lack of real thought-provoking cinema that stirs something in me to write about it. Enter the much-anticipated, much-hyped “Prometheus,” marking Ridley Scott’s return to the universe he helped create in 1979’s seminal “Alien.” I hold the latter and its James Cameron-helmed sequel in high regard, and so the moment I heard whisperings of a potential Scott-helmed prequel, the fanboy geek in me began to get giddy. They hype has been building over the last six months, rising to a fever pitch with an onslaught of trailers, viral videos and interviews. So, does “Prometheus” live up to the hype? I’ll attempt to answer but will delve into spoiler territory to do so. If you haven’t seen the flick, I’ll only suggest that it’s a must-see film, albeit not one without flaws. Check it out, then come back here for the rest. Oh, and do yourself a favor and see this on IMAX while you can — consider it mandatory.

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The Science of Online Laughter

This will be the first in a sure-to-be-long-running series designed to acclimate you, the reader, with the magic and wonder of the Internetz. The topics will be wide-ranging and random in nature–everything from discussions of the best websites to investigating the potentially harmful effects of a misplaced semi-colon while coding PHP.

First we take a look at the underlying meaning of what initially appears to be nothing more than a simple laugh during online conversation. You’re talking to a friend over instant messenger or Facebook and they say something moderately amusing. How does one respond? With a simple “ha ha?” Don’t be naive, friends; the way you respond can speak volumes. Friendships and marriages have been destroyed over misinterpreted online diction. Don’t make that same mistake.

ha – An acknowledgement of a comment having not fallen under the category of “unfunny.” In a sense, you’re saying, “okay, you didn’t shit the bed.” Plenty of room for improvement.

hehe – a reserved, slightly patronizing laugh to acknowledge that you attempted to say something funny and didn’t make a spectacular failure of yourself.

haha – Used most often in casual online conversation; a way of seguing to the next thought after a quick acknowledgement of your pithy quips.

hahah – You’ve exceeded in raising your humor level to the point I made the extra, not-insignificant effort to type an extra ‘h.’

hahahahahahhha – Veritable belly laughs fill the virtual air, albeit while exercising the necessary self-control to refrain from mashing the keyboard in uncontrollable fits of joy.

aaahhahahhaha – Perhaps the rarest of them all, the laughter that starts with an extended “aahhhhh” before the fit of giggling, signifying to one and all that you’ve made a funny and deserve applause.

lol – The most overused of them all, “lol” should be reserved for the truly rare moments in which someone tells you about chimps throwing their own feces while riding a motorcycle, or cats batting something with their paws. Interestingly enough, it should be noted, “lol” does not always indicate an audible output of laughter. It is funny enough to make you laugh, but not quite enough to make it impossible to suppress said laughter in the workplace.

kajd;lasdf;aldsjkga;oias;dgihas;dg – So hilarious you can’t control yourself long enough to successfully type a specific sequence of letters on your keyboard because you are–literally–laughing out loud. This is reserved for the truly great moments of comedy, like when a group of friends trade rhyming verses in a song/poem to pay tribute to another friend that has a slightly off-putting affinity for taco’s. (Said lyrics are kept under Interweb password protection; sorry.)

I hope you’ve learned something from part 348 of my 618-part series on teh Interweb (the previous 347 parts all involve animated cat gifs and were excised to improve website performance). Stay tuned for future chapters in the saga.